Hostel Detroit is dedicated to educating travelers about the past, present and future of the city of Detroit. We seek to create experiential connections between Detroiters and visitors to foster creativity and global understanding of an often misunderstood city.
Hostel Detroit truly began in November 2010, when founder Emily Doerr realized there was a need for a space where curious travelers could come stay, explore, and learn about Detroit. As an avid traveler and Couchsurfer, Emily often hosted guests in her Corktown neighborhood condominium – sometimes as many as 10/week. The influx of visitors gave her an idea:
“Let’s open a hostel in Detroit!”
Emily leased a building, reached out to everyone she knew, and started putting it all together. After countless volunteer hours spent building, painting, planting, and cleaning, it was was ready. Hostel Detroit hosted its first guests on April 17th, 2011.
Hostel Detroit is a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit. Our goal is to teach each of our visitors about the the history and evolving future of our city. We want our guests to leave Detroit with the perspective of someone who has experienced it first-hand. We want them to eat from our urban farms, cycle our streets, enjoy our locally owned boutiques and eateries, and take in our festive atmosphere. We help Hostel guests tap-into what’s happening around town. We offer maps, “adventure-planning”, self-guided explorations, and personalized tours led by local ambassadors.
Why do we do this? Because you were probably told not to come here. Because even the border crossing guard told you not to come here. Because your friend will look at you wide-eyed on the bus and say “There’s nobody left in Detroit. Why would you go there? It’s like a war-zone, a third-world country.”
In spite of those reasons, this is our home. Detroit undeniably holds a unique place in our country’s history, and the millennial generation would benefit from knowing that. Detroit is more than one thing. Like all big cities, it is a complex organism. There are as many Detroits as there are Detroiters. We can’t give you our experience the city, but we can help you have yours. We can only work and hope for new stories in the long narrative of our town. Because Detroit needs new stories too.